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July 25, 2014

'The Waltons' Cast: Where Are They Now?

by AOL TV Staff, posted Jul 6th 2009 6:00AM
The WaltonsPresident George H.W. Bush once said, "We are going to keep on trying to ... make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons." The long-running family drama of which he spoke was based on a biographical novel by Earl Hamner Jr.; it launched with a telepic, 'The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,' and aired from 1972 to 1981.

Who knew a show about a family in rural Virginia during the Great Depression would be a bona fide hit? It turned out to be the slice of Americana the country was craving. Find out what John Boy, Olivia, Jim-Bob, Mary Ellen and the others been up to since they bade their TV audience a final goodnight. -- By Kristina Lopez

What Happened to the Walton Family?

    President George H.W. Bush once said, "We are going to keep on trying to ... make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons." The long-running family drama of which he spoke was based on a biographical novel by Earl Hamner Jr.; it launched with a telepic, 'The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,' and aired from 1972 to 1981.

    Who knew a show about a family in rural Virginia during the Great Depression would be a bona fide hit? It turned out to be the slice of Americana the country was craving. Find out what John Boy, Olivia, Jim-Bob, Mary Ellen and the others been up to since they bade their TV audience a final goodnight. -- By Kristina Lopez



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    Ralph Waite
    Played: John Walton Sr.

    Then: As the Waltons' patriarch, John Sr. ran the family sawmill and wasn't afraid to lay down the law if his kids needed to learn a good lesson. In 2007, during a 'Today Show' interview, Waite remarked how his work on the show made him a better father to his three daughters.



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    Ralph Waite
    Played: John Walton Sr.

    Now: Waite has had a long career on television since his time on the Walton farm. He continued acting in father-figure roles; he played Reverend Norman Balthus in HBO's 'Carnivale' and this year he was Father Matt on 'Days of Our Lives' He's also had bit parts on 'Cold Case,' 'CSI' and 'NCIS.' Waite hasn't been so lucky in politics, however. In the '90s he unsuccessfully ran for Congress three times, losing twice in California to Sonny Bono's widow Mary -- by a very wide margin.



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    Michael Learned
    Played: Olivia Walton

    Then: Credited as "Miss Michael Learned," because the network was worried her first name might confuse viewers, she played soft-spoken and caring mom to the large Walton clan. As a deeply religious Baptist, Olivia was always ready to take in someone in need, despite her large family suffering financial hardships of its own. Learned tapered off her role, becoming a recurring character, until eventually Olivia Walton was diagnosed with tuberculosis and put in a sanatorium in Arizona. Learned earned three Emmys before she left the series.



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    Michael Learned
    Played: Olivia Walton

    Now: Learned reprised the Olivia Walton character in several of the 'Waltons' reunion shows and TV specials, including 'A Walton Wedding.' After guest parts on 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,' her most recent work on screen has been a guest stint on 'Scrubs' as JD's patient Mrs. Wilk, who goes through the five stages of grief after getting a negative prognosis. Since then she's hit the stage in a production of 'Driving Miss Daisy,' as the lead role of Daisy Werthen.



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    Will Geer
    Played: Zebulon Tyler Walton

    Then: Called Zeb by his wife, Esther Walton, Grandpa was slightly less hard-lined than his son and spent time with his grandkids doling out wisdom. His relationship with his wife was one of the most loving marriages portrayed on television. Geer won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy in 1975.

    Now: Geer had only two other roles -- in 'The Mafu Cage' and 'A Woman Called Moses' -- while he was still acting on 'The Waltons.' His death, on April 22, 1978, was one of the few dealt with on the show; it was written in at the beginning of season 7.



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    Ellen Corby
    Played: Esther Walton

    Then: Grandma Walton was, similar to Olivia, a deeply religious woman. Much of her personality was seen in her son John, with the same sort of no-nonsense attitude. She frequently helped Olivia out with the kids and affectionately called her husband "an old fool." Corby won three Emmys for her work on the show.



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    Ellen Corby
    Played: Esther Walton

    Now: In 1977 the actress suffered a stroke. It was written into the show, as her character's struggle to regain speech was chronicled, along with the actress' real-life efforts. The stroke limited her ability to work for many years, and she only stepped back into the acting spotlight to reprise her role as Grandma Walton. Her last on-screen appearance was in the 1997 special 'A Walton Easter.' Corby passed away on April 14, 1999.



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    Richard Thomas
    Played: John Walton Jr.

    Then: John Walton Jr., more affectionately known as "John Boy" was the narrator of the series (though the actor was not the voice of the narrator; read on to find out who was). An aspiring writer, John Boy was the eldest of the Walton children and left for college to pursue a career in journalism. Thomas left 'The Waltons' after the fifth season when his contract expired and he decided to pursue other acting roles. He won an Emmy in 1973 for Best Lead Actor in this role.



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    Richard Thomas
    Played: John Walton Jr.

    Now: Thomas later reprised John Boy for the three TV reunion shows. Like his TV mom Learned, Thomas has also turned to the stage, starring in several productions, including a run in 'Unusual Acts of Devotion' in May 2009 with 'Everybody Loves Raymond' star Doris Roberts. He's also set to co-star in the Broadway play 'Race' written and directed by David Mamet. The show, which opens this December, will also star Kerry Washington and James Spader.



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dan.morel

It\'s a really great progrem and it shows your tipical family back in the 40s and 50s.

October 01 2013 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bambi Slayer

Time when you had to ACT instead of acting like a fool from Jersey nowdays

December 03 2011 at 4:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
SmartMomsSave

I still LOVE watching the Waltons, I've been watching them on the Hallmark channel. It's amazing how many shows I didn't see, I thought I had seen them all. Every week I'd hurry and get my bath where I could lay in front of the TV and watch the Waltons, before bed. I liked Mary Ellen she was very tough for a girl and I had a crush on John Boy. lol
This Saturday it's suppose to be on all day It's a Walton Mountain Festival.
Laura
Smart Moms Saving Money
http://smartmomssavingmoney.blogspot.com

April 18 2011 at 11:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cfm

I will still watch the show when a network reruns it.. I liked the show..

May 24 2010 at 12:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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